Friday, March 23, 2007

The Colour @ Pianos

Originally on Blog Critics

I think it's sometimes easy to forget about the power of a great rock concert. The spectacle has been parodied so much, you can lose sight of the essential power of seeing a bunch of guys make great music. In my review of their album, I noted that The Colour aren't the most original band in the world. They harken back to '70s classic rock blues inspired acts, but their sound isn't the kind of thing you hear a lot of today, and their live show has an energy and passion I haven't seen at a concert in a long time. They totally owned the room and put on a great, albeit short, show.

The concert took place at Pianos, in a small space at the back of the bar. There couldn't have been more than 100 people there, probably closer to 60 or 70, and a lot of them seemed to be industry people. I was frequently brushed away by professional photographers, capturing the action, and there were a couple of conspicuously suited men monitoring the action. The show was likely meant as a showcase, and if so, I'd think the suits must have left happy, because they put on a great show.

The set opened with an intense, driving version of "Black Summer," and kept the energy up all the way through. On the album, the tracks feel very precise, with the band hitting their marks exactly, giving it a sometimes mechanical feel. Live, this was not the case at all. They were very high energy, particularly lead singer Wyatt Hull, who roamed the stage like a contemporary Jim Morrison, dancing and wielding his mic stand like a snake charmer. He frequently leaned out into the crowd, getting a big reaction from the audience.

One of my major complaints about the album was that the songs felt too restrained, with no room for emotional blowups. Live, we still didn't get the extended instrumental jamming of a Led Zeppelin, but the intensity of their playing made that superfluous. Virtually every moment had the intensity of a guitar solo, even a slower song like "Silver Meadows." The highlight was a raucous version of "Devil's Got a Holda Me."

It was almost overwhelming to see the band in so small a space. They had arena, or at least club, ready moves, and could have easily captivated a much bigger crowd. It felt a bit awkward thinking they were putting on such a show for so few people. But, it was nice to get a chance to see the band in so small a venue.

My only real complaint is that the show was so short. They started around 11:20 and only played until 11:55. I'm not sure if there was a curfew or something, but even at $10 a ticket, 35 minutes felt a bit short. The crowd was definitely ready for an encore, and there were plenty of solid tracks from the album to play yet. If the show was meant mostly as a label showcase, I could see why they wouldn't play as long, but still, I felt like one more song was needed.

But, I suppose it's better to leave them wanting more. I thoroughly enjoyed this show, this kind of rocking live show really stands out against the generally more subdued concerts you see from most bands today. In this case, their ties back to classic rock make them stand out. It might not have been something special back in the '70s, but I haven't seen another band like this today, and I'm eager to see them again.

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